Fairly specialist stuff here, not many folks may be interested. But I spent most of a day on it (including a DNS learning curve), so on the offchance anybody finds it useful...
As part of my recent encounter with google apps, I had to go through their site verification process, which can be done by adding a random-looking record to the DNS, either as a TXT or a CNAME. You can also verify by putting a token on your website or in the html, but that seems messy as I want to keep email and website completely separate.
My domain is managed by freeparking.co.uk, who (Yuk!) only allow a single TXT record that I may want to use for other purposes, so I tried using CNAME. The CNAME associates a random looking alias of my domain, with a random looking google domain name, which convinces google that I own the domain.
But again, freeparking have messed up CNAME config. You can create a CNAME record, but only as an alias to one of your own subdomains. I think this restriction is all wrong and utter madness, but searches confirm it to be the case with freeparking, and they are showing no signs of commenting upon it or fixing it.
However, whereas an 'A' record should contain a numerical IP address, freeparking allow you to add an 'A' record that contains a fully qualified domain name where the IP address might go. My understanding (which may be wrong?) is that such a DNS entry would be invalid, but I tried it to see what happened, it seemed to be accepted. I then checked the DNS with Linux 'dig', and found that DNS reported my new (and theoretically invalid) 'A' record showed up as a valid 'CNAME'. ;; ANSWER SECTION:
random-string.some-domain-of-7lm.com. 86400 IN CNAME different-random-string.domainverify.googlehosted.com.
Then I went back to google, and clicked 'verify' which was instantly accepted.
Above may be of interest to anybody else who ever tries to get google apps to work with a domain managed by freeparking. But I'd also be interested in any comments on the problems I encountered, or the solution I found. Anybody seen anything like it before? Is my new CNAME record (created as an 'A' record) in safe territory, or how likely that it may all stop working tomorrow?